Research - MAY 17, 2017

Boston tops list of most energy-efficient U.S. cities

by Andrea Waitrovich

Boston remains the top U.S. city for energy efficiency, receiving 84.5 out of a possible 100 points, an improvement of 2.5 points from its 2015 score, according to he third edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released on May 10 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Following Boston, the top 10 U.S. cities for energy efficiency are New York City (2), Seattle (3), Los Angeles (tied for fourth), Portland (tied for fourth), Austin (6), Chicago (7), Washington, D.C. (8), Denver (tied for ninth), and San Francisco (tied for ninth).

Based on a 25-point jump from the last edition of the Scorecard in 2015, Los Angeles was the most-improved city. It entered the top five — and the top 10 — for the first time. San Diego, Kansas City, and Phoenix are the second, third and fourth most-improved cities, respectively. Seven other cities, including Orlando, showed double-digit improvements since the last Scorecard.

The five cities most in need of improvement on energy efficiency are Hartford (47), Memphis (48), Detroit (49), Oklahoma City (50) and Birmingham (51).

Additional findings in the 2017 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard include the following:


  • Phoenix is the fourth-most-improved city, with a gain of 13 points. The city increased its score in community-wide initiatives because of its adoption of the 2050 Environmental Sustainability goals, which include both energy savings and climate goals.
  • Orlando is another of 11 cities that improved by at least 10 points. It aims to improve efficiency in existing buildings by benchmarking its energy use and making the data transparent and accessible. Austin, Philadelphia, Denver, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Portland, and the four most-improved cities mentioned above round out this group.
  • Los Angeles is home to a new Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency program, which requires an energy audit, retrofit and benchmarking for many commercial and multifamily buildings, as well as water efficiency measures.
  • San Diego passed a Climate Action Plan that established goals to reduce energy use by 15 percent in select homes and to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020.

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